Monday, September 1, 2008

Binge and Purge

I think I've alluded a few times to my new voracious reading of all the autism/special needs blogs I can find, but I have mentioned in the way one might mention, "Oh, I had a few snacks," when what I really should confess (in order to spur perhaps an intervention) is, "7-Eleven is empty because I inhaled every Dorito, bag of Whoppers, and Slim Jim in the place. And by the way, I'm craving more, so look out, Wawa." If special-needs-parenting blogs had caloric content, I'd need gastric bypass tomorrow.

It looks like this. Any time I am not at work, I have my husband's laptop, my kid's desktop, or my own iPhone open to Google Reader. There, I pull in about twenty-some blogs about autism (and about education). When I have read them all, I begin to read their blogrolls. When I have read all the blogs by the bloggers followed by the bloggers I follow, I Google for more.

What on earth is it I'm trying to find?

On the face of it, it's a mystery. After all, twenty-something blogs I read provide me a healthy diet of what I have needed, wanted, sought. I read the blogs of smart, caring, wise, intuitive moms who face daily challenges and serve as a good example to me. You'd think I could read them once, digest, feel satisfied, grow. I care deeply about so many kids I've never seen, and it's a huge blessing. I also gain tremendous friendship, camaraderie, community, and have no excuse for feeling lonely.

But beneath the surface, maybe I'm doing more than comfort binging?

Maybe I still think, okay, autism, but what else? What else are we dealing with in our Rooster? Okay, he's autistic, but he's also so freaking DARK. The darkness doesn't show up much in my reading. In fact, I read so much LIGHT. It can't just be that all parents BUT ME are able to see past the dark and write only about the goodness, can it? Am I that skewed? Maybe my blogmarathon means I'm trying to figure out if that is the situation, or maybe I'm trying to diagnose this darkness, or, forgive me if this offends you, cure it. The rooster is so angry all the time lately. He scares me. I scare me. What I see of me in him scares and depresses me. It's the rage. This rage. We all have bits of it in us, don't we? I have always thought of my bits as healthy bits, of expressions of not settling for less, of fuel I can use when I need to fight. I don't watch movies, don't like them, but a friend told me once that my occasional anger reminded him of the film Red Dawn, when one character says to another (something like): "You got a lot of hate in you, boy." And the ME character replies without missing a beat, "Keeps me warm." Maybe my own rage is more of a problem than I realize. Maybe it's bigger than I thought. But I'm more worried about his rage than mine. Lately the rooster is on fire. Just like when we first floated the autism question, I scoured the Internet for proof, found blogs, dove in, felt kind of at home. But the truth is, I never found the Rooster's rage described in the autism blogosphere. Doesn't mean he isn't autistic. Just means maybe there is more.

Yeah, I've started reading bipolar blogs, too.

I think soon my husband is going to snip our wireless router.

And, again, I don't like movies, but I remember bits of an old movie called What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I can't remember much about Gilbert except that he had special needs, but I can tell you this: I am feeling a lot like his mother these days. If I remember right, I think she ate so much and grew so large she couldn't leave her house. Sure I need to lose ten pounds, but I feel just like her on the inside lately. The way I remember it, Gilbert Grape's mom was looking for something she couldn't find.

Keeps me warm.


jen said...

perhaps some of us out here in blogosphere are just are just afraid of the dark - I know I am & so I don't delve into it as much as perhaps I ought.

There are times when I remember crying on my hubby's shoulder.. and pondering how anyone so little could be so angry one second and kind-hearted quite literally the next. He still has tendancies toward the cruel & extreme - though they are less frequent than they used to be. THis same child can be found on occassion - reading books to his brother & sister and comforting his sister when she is afraid at night (some behaviors that are coming along as he gets a bit older)

summer has slowed things down considerably at our home....but there are still moments of rage & meltdowns frequently. Because the swings are so extremes and the cycles are so various, we too have been pondering bi-polar (in addition to? in lieu of?)....always seeking answers..

I was quite defensive for awhile as we talked about "labels" for the first time....but I think there is a peace that comes from knowing - maybe a false sense of control? or just some validation that all these issues stem fronm more than parenting? I don't know...I look at it like this a bit

- Sometimes it feels like I'm perusing a vast cupboard of canned goods with no labels....and if only I knew what what inside of them I would suddenly have a clarity that would enable me to put things in order, know what I actually have in front of me & just generally quit dealing with the mystery of it all - know what I mean?

and so we seek, we eat, we blog...we read....that I can relate to my friend...

hoping and praying for answers & for peace,

PBear said...

cycles....think cycles.... I think some kids tend more to the anger/aggression side to cope with their frustration/disregulation/lack of understanding than others. I have one, you're not alone, trust me! And yes, there are days that you think maybe you are seeing what the parents of the boys at Columbine were seeing 10 years prior, but they were too dumb to notice - and should you just lock him away NOW before he makes the front page? But I think if you chart it out, you will see a decline in the aggression and anger over the years - it won't be a consistent, every day decline, but the trend will definitely be seen - unfortunately it does take years.

Meanwhile, we all search for something that makes us feel like we're not the only ones, that someone somewhere has been experiencing exactly what we are experiencing. And if you're like me, when you get into something, you are obsessed with it - must know EVERYTHING about it, read everything, talk about it, think about it, etc. Full immersion. So you're not alone, in either case.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I found your blog via GoodFountain. I just wanted to say that you're not alone in your searching and seeking, day after day, night after night. My Hubby just came into the room and asked what I was doing. He took one look at the laptop screen and sighed, "Blogs. Again." Then walked away.

It's a wonderful world, this blogiverse; as you said, it's full of moms who are experiencing similar things and who are willing to lend an ear and even lots of hugs, if needed. It IS addictive, though, isn't it?

I hope you find an answer; one that helps you to help your son. In the meantime, enjoy your reading...


pixiemama said...

You're right - I haven't blogged about the rage because Foster's rages have mellowed. But that's just what they were when he was 2 - 3. It wasn't terrible twos; it was "I think I'm raising my dry/drunk father." He really, really scared me until he was about 4.5 (about a year ago) when the raging all but disappeared.

I know, too, what you mean about always wondering if it's something more - something else. Because autism, while it explains a lot, it doesn't cover half of it.


Joeymom said...

I attempted to blog about some of the darker stuff in my experiences with Joey, especially in contrast to Andy, who is not autistic, and copes with life very differently than Joey.

I got slapped down, mostly by people who are autistic, and felt I was perpetuating a negative stereotype. I got nasty email. I got nasty comments. Nevermind that I was writing about things that really happened.

Rage is one thing I commonly see in autistic kids at our OT and speech therapy offices. Wild, sudden rage; slow, burning rage; rage that explodes in full meltdowns; rage that seems to simmer and seethe, appearing in quiet, but disturbing, ways. Why the rage? Frustration? Anger? What?

It's there. Aggression really is out there, and hiding it because you don't want people equating autism with aggression is ignoring a serious issue families and autistic people are really facing. Not all autistic people are aggressive... but even the calmest, most sedate non-autistic person will lash out if pushed to their limits of frustration, and I think a lot of autistic people are pushed to those limits almost every day- lack of understanding, lack of support, lack of services, lack of coping skills all add up fast.

gretchen said...

Looks like you got some good/helpful comments here, and I'm glad. Henry's (previous) teacher has described him as "aggressive", which I found secretly laughable because his most aggressive act was pinching and his most angry words all came from Disney movies. But maybe she saw some things I didn't see. The dark side IS out there. I count myself lucky over and over again that I don't see much of it at my house. Just like Henry's never had trouble sleeping. I got a couple good ends of the spectrum, I guess. (Or I just jinxed myself?)

Holly said...

I can totally relate to the "rage" as you put it. I have two children with autism (both 1 year apart too) so I had to deal with two diagnoses at once---talk about rage!! I was a crazy woman! My marriage suffered--still does. I started writing poetry and things felt" better... it worked for me and--take it from me--it helps to get the rage out... so blog away angry!! Holly from:

Anonymous said...


I can relate to the "dark" it's healthy to do both---show encouragement and also "expose" the truth. I think it's necessary to do both ... so blog away some dark stuff and vent--I look forward to reading more.

Fearless Females

Petra said...

Another person chiming in with plenty of experience with *the dark side*. And not afraid to write about it. Bipolar tendencies have always been and continues to be part of my ASD son's package.

You are definitely not alone in your struggles with rages and dark emotions that erupt out of your spectrum kiddo. Definitely not alone.

redheadmomma said...

your posts always make me think, friend. Thank you.

And I think that a lot of people have a really hard time with the darker emotions in life. It's painful & uncomfortable & it sucks. But in my view, it's healing, cathartic, and helps thy blogging neighbor.